|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||VAWO||FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 1999||202/307-0703|
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AWARDS FUNDING FOR JUDICIAL MONITORING OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENDERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Boston, Massachusetts, Washtenaw County, Michigan and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin will each receive up to $2 million under a new Justice Department program aimed at reducing domestic violence by increased judicial monitoring of domestic violence offenders. The Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative, administered by the Department's Violence Against Women Office (VAWO), challenges the judiciary to take an active role in increasing offender accountability and promoting victim safety.
"We hope to reduce the likelihood that domestic violence offenders will reoffend by closely monitoring and imposing graduated sanctions on them," said Bonnie Campbell, Director of VAWO. "Judges play a critical role in managing offenders' behavior and keeping victims safe. They have the power to effect change."
"This program was designed to build upon a community's coordinated response to domestic violence," added Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which includes VAWO. "Judges, prosecutors, police, probation officers and victim advocates must work together to ensure victim safety."
The City of Boston will receive $1,996,890 to implement a court-centered, comprehensive and coordinated community response to domestic violence in the Dorchester neighborhood. Law enforcement and probation officers, prosecutors, victim advocates, batterer intervention programs and the judiciary will establish and implement community-wide protocols, which treat domestic violence as a crime and strengthen the monitoring of perpetrators.
"These communities may use this funding for a variety of collaborative, court-based activities," added Bonnie Campbell. "They can create specialized domestic violence dockets or courts, improve comprehensive services for victims that promote safety and autonomy and create data collection systems for the judiciary that include the defendant's history of abusive behavior."
Funds can also be used to hold offenders accountable through the enforcement of graduated sanctions ranging from batterer intervention and alcohol/drug treatment programs to incarceration.
The Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney in Ann Arbor, Michigan will receive $1,997,383 to establish domestic violence dockets for all courts in Washtenaw County and to improve services for victims. These funds will also be used to create a county-wide domestic violence unit. This unit will include domestic violence prosecutors, investigators, probation officers and victim advocates who will work closely with batterer intervention programs, domestic violence units within police departments and the county's victim advocacy organization.
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin will use its $1,998,257 grant to combine graduated sanctions with intensive judicial oversight of offenders and expanded services for victims to improve offender accountability and victim safety.
Congress appropriated $34 million for the Grants to Encourage Arrest Policies Program in FY 1999. Of these funds, VAWO set aside $7.56 million for the Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative. Twelve jurisdictions, which were current grantees under the Arrest program and/or expressed serious interest in judicial involvement in the community's response to domestic violence, were invited to compete.
The National Institute of Justice will conduct an evaluation of each of the three demonstration sites. These three funded sites, along with the remaining nine sites, will also receive technical assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice of New York, which will receive $1.57 million from VAWO.
More information about the Violence Against Women Office and its programs can be found at VAWO's Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/VAWGO or OJP's Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov, or call the National Criminal Justice Reference Service toll-free on
After hours contact: Linda Mansour on 202/616-3534 or page on 202/516-6843